“One voice can change a room. And if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. And if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
The Obama Foundation is guided by a core belief: that ordinary people working together can change history. Our mission is to inspire those people to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together than they can alone.
That’s where you come in. The work we do wouldn’t be possible without input from people like you around the world. So we want to hear your voice. We want to hear what you’re doing to build a better future for your community, no matter how big or how small. We want to know who inspires you to work a little harder, to dream a little bigger, reach a little farther. We want to know who in your community has the next big idea that could spark a global movement—especially if it’s you.
We’re always listening, and you never know—you may see yourself in a feature like the ones below. Take a look at a few of the voices that inspire us, then add your own.
Spotlight: Meet Rochelle Bayless and the Grace Cafe
“Guess what I just did?” Rochelle Bayless, executive director of Grace Cafe, said to her coworker with a smirk. “I wrote the Obama Foundation about Grace Cafe.”
Rochelle answered a prompt we posted with the question: “What are you doing to make a difference in your community?” with no expectation it would ever be read.
We were so moved by her note, we traveled to Danville, Kentucky, to see her work for ourselves. Take a look at what the Grace Cafe is cooking up in Danville and how they’re positively impacting their community one meal at a time.
Voices that Inspire Us
Elizabeth McDFalls Church, VA
I want to lend my hands to whatever the need is in my community. At 73, they're old hands, but I can use them to applaud all those who see the needs, the opportunities and, despite the difficulties, choose to step forward to bring everyone in our community into a better future.
Jabali S.Brooklyn, NY
I want to ensure black male teachers have an opportunity and forum to control and determine our own narrative as critical contributors to the education of our children.
Pauline N.Paris, France
As a young self-taught painter based in Paris with roots in Congo, I strive to give visibility and representation to the Black LGBTQI community through oil painting portraits. I hope to help others feel proud to be who they are and to offer historical testimony and visibility.
I'm part of an Association of my Village Youth Groups called Dibbba Kunda One Family. It aims to promote community development in education, health, and agriculture. We come together the second Sunday of every month to address any emerging village issues. We are a young association, but one of our main objectives is to fight poverty and hunger, increase community income, eradicate illiteracy and improve access to healthcare.
I have two dreams. The first one is to build an entrepreneurial project uniting all the sustainable development efforts to make a bigger difference in the world we live in. The second one is to reinforce the social links between different communities to increase solidarity and acceptance of differences.
Chudier J.South Sudan
Currently, the demand for change is high, and even higher for peace. My colleagues and I founded African Grassroots Action for Peace and Youth Empowerment to empower youth to think critically and innovatively while promoting peace in South Sudan and beyond.
Constance C.Tallahassee, FL
To make a difference in my community, I started a group called Courageously Connected in Tallahassee, Florida, whose mission is to connect minorities so that we can bring financial resources to our own communities.
I got involved in my community by co-founding Hearts 4 Service, a community based organization that offers psychosocial and material support to children from difficult backgrounds. It has been an enriching experience so far, but I would like to get even more community members involved to develop strategies that will get everyone in the community involved to help our children.
I am really passionate about educating marginalized groups of children. Last year, my amazing classmate with a great heart and I started an initiative supporting kids in Slovakia. People tend not to believe in us and help us, because we’re just 18. It would really make our work easier if people could understand that even young people can help, maybe not globally, but at least in their countries and I believe it counts as well.
“I’ve learned how much impact we can have in building up our communities at the local level, and how much we can be a part of providing resources to people who need them.” —Ramya, Training Day Boston
“Telling my story is important for two reasons: inspiration and leadership. I have two younger cousins, and it’s important for me to set an example for them, but it’s also important for me to use my story to inspire others to create change.” —Denzel, Training Day Boston
“Being surrounded by people who are motivated and want to get involved in their community has given me the confidence to be an agent of change and to connect with others.” —Madison, Training Day Boston
“Everyone's different narratives and stories can play a part in how they lead a community and inspire others."—Brittani, Training Day Chicago
"I'm inspired by the civic duty and culture. I'm inspired by change." —Antonio, Training Day Chicago
“I’m passionate about providing a voice for communities that have traditionally been left out of the conversation...My interest in helping BYMOC is not a pastime but serious pursuit at creating a shared vision for student success across the country.”—Senegal Mabry, MBKA Youth Advisory Council member